Third Annual "The Best"

Design

Restaurant design idea I’ve stolen
We purchased a few Electrolux Infared Panini Grills to speed up service in our customized deli stations located in residential dining facilities. We had struggled with speed of service with traditional panini presses.
—David Friend, director of dining services, West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.

Recent equipment innovation I’ve seen
Since we do a lot of tableside cooking, the eco-friendly induction cooking system is fantastic. It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners, and because induction heats the cooking vessel itself, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods.
—Robert Darrah, director of dining services, Legacy Retirement Communities, Lincoln, Neb.

Twist on a “traditional” cafeteria space I’ve seen
Brevard Public Schools’ Galley Grill. This was a hodgepodge outdoor area that was renovated and turned into a ship with two serving lines. The school used to be a middle school that served 800 students and it was turned into a high school that served 2,500 students. They only had two serving lines, so they needed additional points of service and the Galley Grill did that.
—Dawn Houser, director of nutrition services, Collier County Public Schools, Naples, Fla.

The Best, KU, Garden use of small space I’ve seen
We have a rooftop herb garden tucked away in a corner between some of the heating and cooling equipment. This area has always been locked away and was lost space. We now grow tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. While the roofing equipment utilizes a great deal of the square footage, it also provides much-needed shade to the more delicate herbs. We have 14 pickle buckets, three whiskey barrels and three earth boxes. This provides herbs for our catering operation and the full-service lunch restaurant during the summer months.
—Janna Traver, executive chef/assistant director for KU Dining Services, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
smoothie

Nurses often mention that at 2 p.m. they are dragging and just trying to get through their 12-hour shift. This winter I will be implementing a 2 p.m. pick-me-up, which will include a smoothie station where they can create their own smoothie to help get them through their shift. It will be filled with energy-boosting ingredients to personalize their own drink, such as bananas, almonds, spinach and even dark chocolate.

Ideas and Innovation
chili

Winter is when our guests frequently crave something comforting and hearty, and chili is great for that. Our plan is to boost guest engagement this winter by inviting them to design a unique chili experience. The guest chooses the type of chili first, then the vessel: bowl, bread or potato. Next, they customize their dish even further by choosing the toppings, which will be categorized as traditional, creamy, crunch or heat. The wild card, crunch and heat categories, are where my team and I will flex our creativity and highlight different flavors, ingredients or techniques.

Ideas and Innovation
new year party

In search of inspiration for this letter, I turned to the one I wrote for January 2017, in which I griped about some trends I wanted to toss in the new year. Twelve months later, the Sriracha trend has calmed down, food trucks seem slightly less pervasive and, while the definition of “clean” eating continues to evolve, it’s not so laser-focused on GMOs. So it seems my predictions were correct, including the one about where I’d be eating on New Year’s Day (though I had no clue my now-fiance would propose to me that night over duck noodle soup).

However, since this year has been...

Industry News & Opinion

Dining hall workers at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., have been asked to remove stickers worn in protest of working conditions at the school’s dining halls, The Stanford Daily reports.

School officials say that the stickers with the statement “Respect and a Fair Workload” go against a union-university agreement that states union members may not wear “insignia [with] any message that is vulgar, profane, or disparaging of Stanford, or that results in conflict or disruption in the workplace.”

In a conversation with The Daily, Seth Leibson, senior organizer for SEIU...

FSD Resources